Amazon debuts macOS instances on its cloud for Apple developers

Amazon debuts macOS instances on its cloud for Apple developers

If you’re an Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 user, here is a potentially handy update for you. The company has announced the general availability of Elastic Compute Cloud Mac instances for macOS, allowing app developers in Apple’s ecosystem a way to run on-demand macOS workloads in the cloud. Previously, Amazon offered this service only for Windows and Linux.

Unlike typical virtualized instances, the new EC2 macOS instances are built on top of actual Mac Mini machines, which is certainly a big plus. Note that you’re not getting the latest Apple M1-powered variant until 2021. For now, Amazon is using the previous generation Mac Mini featuring Intel’s 8th generation Coffee Lake Core i7-8700B processor with 6 physical/12 logical cores and and 32 GB of RAM. The processor normally clocks at 3.2 GHz but goes up to 4.6 GHz in turbo mode. Developers will be able to choose between macOS 10.14 Mojave and macOS 10.15 Catalina, while macOS 11.0 Big Sur support is coming soon.


AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr describes the Mac instances as something that gives Apple developers “…the ability to quickly & cost-effectively build code for multiple targets without having to own & operate your own hardware”. The premise here is simple: think of a full-fledged macOS development rig, but on AWS. You will get to benefit from the elasticity, scalability, security, and reliability provided by EC2.

AWS utilizes the Mac Mini’s high-speed Thunderbolt 3 ports to connect them with its Nitro System for 10Gb/s VPC network bandwidth and 8Gb/s storage bandwidth. The instances are accessible via VNC with a graphical interface, which means you can run Xcode and Swift development tools on them and create apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Safari. SSH access is also there for command line aficionados.

It is worth mentioning that EC2 Mac instances come with a minimum tenancy period of 24 hours, which means they cannot be part of an automatic scaling group. The macOS instances are available now in the US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), and Asia-Pacific (Singapore) regions, with other regions coming soon.

Source: Amazon AWS

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Skanda Hazarika
Skanda Hazarika

DIY enthusiast (i.e. salvager of old PC parts). An avid user of Android since the Eclair days, Skanda also likes to follow the recent development trends in the world of single-board computing.

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